The mayor’s office announced today that the city plans to close the infamous Coronado Park next month.
City Councilor Trudy Jones, who was in favor of the now-defunct open spaces proposal, which would have given legal outdoor spaces for the homeless population to reside with clean water, energy and hygiene facilities, was asked about her thoughts on the decision. She said she was not able to comment on the announcement because the city council had not been notified about the decision to close the park, which is currently occupied by about 120 homeless.
“I had no idea about this until you asking me about it, so I cannot comment further right now,” she responded.
In its heyday, the park used to house a steam locomotive built in 1944 that was restored for display at Coronado Park in 1956. By 2000, the locomotive had to be moved due to being covered in graffiti and vandalized for its copper and steel components. Since then, the park had declined, and with little to no residents going there, it became the city’s largest unofficial homeless encampment. The mayor’s office plans to extend as well as renovate and revamp the nearby park at the Johnny Tapia Community Center at Fifth and Mountain as a replacement for the Wells Park neighborhood.
The New Kimo Park was also closed by the city on San Mateo and I-40. It was fenced off entirely when the same issues of drug use, vandalism, trash and homeless encampments overtook the area in spring of 2018. The city put the land up for sale at auction for $90,000 and was sold in March of this year, but it still sits vacant and fenced off.
Jones said that although the open spaces initiative was shut down, city councilors still hope to come up with a real solution that will benefit everyone.
“We cannot leave people on the streets for their own safety, and for the business owners who shouldn’t have to continue dealing with this issue, and for the residents who are finding more and more homeless in their areas,” she said.
The city plans to put more patrols in the surrounding neighborhoods and offer housing and shelter with limited property storage options. For more information about the closure, click here.